May 26, 2016

Two Weeks Later - A Testimony of God's Grace

I remember reading once about a man whose wife had died. At her funeral, friends were amazed at his composure. Though he grieved, he grieved as one with hope. He was sad, but also full of peace and trust in the Lord. They asked him how he was handling it so well, and he replied that years of studying the Bible had prepared him for her passing. He had spent a lifetime reading, memorizing, and believing the Word of God, and he knew his heavenly Father well. Even at a time of pain and loss, he had deep roots in the truth of God's character and ways that grounded him. This man's testimony has stuck with me through the years as an example of the kind of faith I aspire to. These past couple of weeks, his story has come to mind, and by God's grace I'm thankful to say that I've experienced his words to be true.

It's been a little more than two weeks since I handed a baby girl back to our adoption case worker. And God has been so gracious to us since then. Grieving was the hardest for me since I'd spent the most time with the baby, but God has truly been "near to the brokenhearted," as it says in Psalm 34:18.

There are several passages from the Bible that have helped my heart. One is Isaiah 58:10-11. The Lord brought it to my attention in When I Don't Desire God by John Piper, which I'd been reading with a friend, and in my daily Bible reading plan.
"...if you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted,
then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday.
And the Lord will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places
and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden,
like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail."
John Piper uses the passage in a chapter called "When the Darkness Does Not Lift," which you can read on page 226 here. One way to avoid self absorption and self pity is to focus on others, to love and serve them as unto the Lord. And God can certainly provide new opportunities during a time of loss to comfort and empathize with others that are also suffering in various ways.

Along those lines, enjoying and caring for these precious people has been a help to my heart too. We have much to be thankful for.

Sunday morning before church I was thinking about one aspect of all this that had been troubling to me. I kept telling myself that the arm of the Lord is not too short to save (Isaiah 59:1), but it was difficult for me to think about a child I'd set my love upon growing up in a home where she may or may not hear the gospel. I tried to think of a Biblical example that would be an encouragement to me, and Moses came to mind. In Exodus 2, Moses's parents gave him to Pharaoh's daughter in order to spare his life. Though they would have taught him about the one true God, they trusted the Lord with his soul even though they knew he would grow up in a home where he would not be taught about Him. And God's arm was not too short to save! Moses grew up to be a man God would "speak to... face to a man speaks to a friend" (Exodus 33:11). He was the one God raised as a shepherd over all His people. That encouraged me a lot. And then, our pastor preached that evening from Hebrews 11:23-31. The beginning of the passage specifically talks about Moses' parents' faith in hiding him, and then Moses "refusing to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter, choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward." I feel certain that the Lord ordained the timing of the sermon to encourage me, and help me entrust the baby's soul to Him.

Many people have been praying for us, and I believe what James 5:16 says - "the prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working." I am confident that we are doing so well in great part because of family and friends that have been praying for us. The Lord is showing grace and sustaining our joy, peace, hope and focus on Jesus.

We would love to be chosen by another birth mother soon, but I'm working at not setting my hope on that. I want to treasure Jesus and be satisfied in Him, and trust that the Lord will direct our lives in His perfect way and timing for His glory.

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